CIYC: Taylor Black

Taylor Black reflects on his Creative in your Community project bringing together fashion, art & design and mental health.

‘Prolusion Project’

For my project, I wanted to create a small pop-up brand in which I wanted to have lots of room for future development, to expand and create future products. I wanted to create a collection of designed, dyed and screen-printed t-shirts along with 5 main designs which I would call my first collection. From the original application to the finished project, the plan has changed a lot, adding to the list of things I have learned. Through working on the project, I decided to drop the number of fully designed garments to a base of 3 main designs in which I could develop and design more garments after the project terminates.

My main thought process for my project was to project my thoughts and feelings of mental health into a design outcome, I wanted to channel my thoughts and negative energy into a project that could connect with people who are feeling the same and hopefully build a small community on my Instagram account of like-minded individuals. As 2020 was without a doubt one of the worst years in terms of my mental health, I knew that if I channelled my thoughts in a way that led to a creative story that it would be a positive outcome: I had to explore these feelings to create a true authentic experience.

My original plan was to sell my t-shirts and take a percentage off each one to give to a mental health charity, however through developing my project I wanted to be more involved to where the money goes, and to help my community grow with the work that I do. When I was younger, my mum spoke about how art therapy would be a good thing in Fort William. Seeing the way art helped my mum with her mental health with something to focus on really planted the seed of creativity in my brain, and that I would like to do the same to others as that did to me.

Many people have benefitted along with me during this amazing opportunity. I have worked with my friend who’s a photographer in creative shoots to help widen their portfolio, and I will be working with more friends who are interested in modelling to give them a chance to get in front of the camera to get some professional shots. I got in touch with a young talent makeup artist who is only 16 to give her a chance to get some professional photos of her makeup designs for portfolio images. While I sadly had to cancel this (due to Covid), I still plan on working with her when we are allowed to.

I would like to think that a day a week art therapy class where people can come socialise would help some community members. Any age, gender, race, orientation can attend as it will be about expressing their feelings into artwork that they should feel proud of at the end of the day, and explore their thoughts into a physical work where they could look back on and feel inspired.

I have learned so much during this project: I have learned how to work with more of a business mindset which has led me to present myself as more of a professional, which in turn has helped boost my confidence as an artist designer and community member. On a personal level, it really helped me with my mental health this year, and it fuelled my ambitions and opened my eyes to what I can achieve.

I have found the mentoring sessions so helpful: working with Joanne has just been so amazing and she helped me get out of my head a number of times when I pressured myself and re-assured me that I was doing absolutely fine! She helped me on her own time sending me links and artwork that related to me and she helped me expand my contacts in getting to know the Highland Print Studio in inverness for future projects. Hearing about how Joanne has travelled to amazing places to work and explore creatively was eye opening to what I can do in the future and as travelling and working creatively is my dream, this really inspired me to work towards my goal of working abroad.

Joining in with the Creative Conversations was also an amazing opportunity and seeing what everyone was working on was fascinating. I’m a very observant person and when speaking with Joanne she helped me realise that my work is very socially observant, which I never thought much into before so just tuning in on what people where up to and even listening to the presentations of different artists, even if they didn’t relate as much to my project, still inspired me a lot.


Gallery Link
Above is a link of graphics & artwork which I have done for this project, from clothing designs, branding, logos, fabric print developments, where I explore mental journeys and feelings in prints & patterns.